Staying Connected on the move
Arriving in Australia we were all exhausted – we had spent the previous 36 hours either flying or in transit as we went from Kuala Lumpur – Bangkok – Sydney – Hobart! Typically, when I logged on this was the day when I had the most emails from clients with adhoc enquiries!
I knew that I wouldn’t be productive as we were so tired, so I did what I had to do and let the clients know I would pick things up the next day.
Having had fantastic wifi in Asia, we had expected the same in Australia but actually the wifi here has been patchy – I am always happy to pay for wifi but in several locations even payment wouldn’t have improved things and we had daily restrictions of 300-500mb – not really enough for a busy VA!
I managed to find a way around this by utilising the children’s wifi codes as you were issued with a code at each location per device but the system didn’t recognise if you used the codes for the same devices!!
At one point in Australia I had to set up a hotspot on my phone! Amazingly in the remote location with no wifi I managed to get a 3G connection!
Having had so much variation in wifi throughout our road trip in Tasmania, I was starting to feel a little nervous about how I would managed in New Zealand which is known for its lack of wifi. I spent some time researching as well as speaking to a friend who lives out there and decided that my best option was to get a Vodafone sim card so that I could create hotspots.
Our Airbnb in Christchurch had fantastic wifi, so I used that for our first three days and the day we picked up our motorhome I purchased a cheap smart phone and a prepay sim. I was actually quite impressed, the handset is very basic but the sim gave us 10GB of data plus unlimited social app data and calls in NZ for around £50.00 so as well as being great for work, we could also use it keep in touch with home via WhatsApp.
By the time you read this, I will have been in New Zealand for two weeks and so far I’ve been able to work most of the time using this phone. As I write this I currently have no 3G as it is raining heavily and therefore the connection here has dropped temporarily.
Rather than panicking about not being able to contact clients, I am writing this blog ready to email over to VA Pro tomorrow and will then be relaxing for the evening with a glass of NZ wine!
Working in a confined space
My biggest challenge in New Zealand so far has been finding space to work where I can focus. We are travelling in a large motorhome which has two tables for me to work from but there are still 4 of us in a confined space so getting the peace and quiet needed is really hard.
We are staying at a mixture of freedom camping sites and holiday parks, so I am choosing to do my most demanding work at the holiday parks, as I can send the family off to the camping kitchens at those to cook dinner whilst I work in peace.
For those of you who have children at home whilst you work, I’m sure you can understand that even if the other parent is looking after the children, the general noise of them chatting, singing and playing can be very distracting at times!
Networking on the road
I also wanted to include a bit about networking on the road in this blog. I’m sure many of you know the importance of networking to building a successful business, it is very rare that I hear of clients stumbling across a VAs website with no prior knowledge of them.
I am lucky to have a great client base, however continuing to market the business and build those all important networking contacts is something that I need to keep doing.
So how can I ensure I’m not forgotten during this trip?
The two main networking groups I am a member of locally, have active Facebook groups and I have therefore been logging into these, commenting and sharing information both about my trip and my usual business tips throughout my time away.
I find this a highly effective way to network and in the early days of my business all my networking was done online, so whilst I may not be physically meeting these contacts or attending meetings I am getting to know them and building their trust in me.
This will be my last blog from on the road as my next one will be once I am back in the UK, updating you all on the last leg of the trip and what I’ve learnt during my travels.